As a frequent visitor of Seattle, I have a special place in my heart for Mt. Rainier. When you grow up in the New York City area, you just don’t see snowcapped mountains—especially ones that mingle among the skyscrapers in your cityscape photos.
For this past summer’s visit, I scheduled a day trip to Portland, Oregon. Before the obligatory stops at Pok Pok, Voodoo Doughnut, and Stumptown, I ventured out on the Historic Columbia River Highway and found myself 4,056 ft. high atop Larch Mountain at Sherrard Point. I saw my beloved Rainier from a whole new perspective—set in a sweeping landscape among four more beauties: Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood (pictured above) and Mt. St. Helens. Each mountain is conveniently ‘labeled’ with a plaque noting its elevation.
Discovering Sherrard Point was a happy accident; I was searching for information regarding the popular (but breathtaking) Oregon attraction, Multnomah Falls, and found this map. The words “Incredible 5 mountain view” intrigued me, so before heading to the falls I opted for the 14.5-mile detour.
Larch Mountain Road closes for the winter months at the 10-mile mark, so you’ll need to wait until late-May 2015 when it opens again to check it out. I recommend heading up on a very clear day. While it was sunny and warm on the day of my visit, the small bit of haze and clouds congregated around the mountain peaks, slightly obstructing the view.
Don’t call it a day at the viewpoint: drive back down the mountain and, using the map, continue along the Historic Columbia River Highway to Multnomah Falls and beyond to cross a bunch of waterfalls off your bucket list, too.
Danielle Berman is Travel + Leisure’s Senior Web Producer.